Bethlehem, Etzion DCL, Tue 5.10.10, Morning

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Observers: 
Idit S., Drora P. (reporting). Guests: two visitors from Germany
05/10/2010
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Morning
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

7 a.m, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300:  a stream of smiling people is crossing.  "Yesterday was also a good day.  May it always be like that."

And inside: the lines are very long and only four counters operating.  While we were there one of the female soldiers got up and left, leaving 3 counters operating and the lines growing longer.  The DCL Officer A. called her back and crossing speeded up again.

8:00 am, Etzion DCL: the hall is full.  Most have come to renew their magnetic cards.  There were many people here yesterday but asked to return today due to inability to deal with all of them.  Some complained this was their third time here because there had not been time enough to deal with their requests.  The malfunction is probably due to the days of closureinfo-icon over Succot.  So why are they not prepared for this eventuality?

Two persons who had been turned away at the Rachel Crossing, and their permits confiscated, approached us.  They said they had been working for the same employer for 10 years, and the expiry date on their permits is next month.  The female soldier told them they could not cross and should go to the "Gush".  Here at the DCO they are not dealt with, and they don't know what to do.  I called the Humanitarian Centre and the soldier said he would check the cause.  Since he was taking his time, I called the DCO Officer at the Rachel Crossing who told me that the correct procedure is to ask the employer who must apply to the Ministry of Employment.  After a while A. called back and asked us to tell the couple to return to the Rachel Crossing and get in touch with him.  The men went off.  I was unable to find out the upshot.

Unfortunately, it is the custom: the soldiers are not bound to explain why permits are confiscated, or to direct the owners to the place where their problem can be resolved.